|M.V. Sechelt Queen|
|Previous Names||M.V. Chinook II (1954-1963)
M.V. Chinook (1947-1954)
|Place Built||Seattle, Washington|
|Year Retired from BC Ferries||1976|
History & Notes:
The designer of the ferry, William Francis Gibbs, called her the "Queen Elizabeth of the Inland Seas" and the Pacific Marine Review described her as "...the most modern and lavishly equipped vessel for automobile-passenger service yet built in America." (Kline and Bayless, 287)
The Chinook had 100 staterooms and had the capacity to carry 100 cars when first built. She was outfitted with luxurious amenities including a bridal suite, coffee shop, lounge, and dining saloon, more like a liner or old steamship than the modern ferry. (Evergreenfleet.com - The Chinook ; Kline and Bayless, 287)
B.C. Ferries placed the Chinook II on the Nanaimo - Horseshoe Bay run along with the Kahloke (later renamed Langdale Queen). She was also sometimes used on the Swartz Bay - Tsawwassen route in the early years of B.C. Ferries. (Griffiths and Cadieux, 24-5, 96)
...Chinook II and Kahloke, when on the Swartz Bay run, had difficulty negotiating the fast currents of Active Pass and it was necessary to re-route them the longer way where currents run slower, along the International Boundary. More schedule complications. (Griffiths and Cadieux, 96)
[A] bomb, apparently made from two sticks of dynamite and an alarm clock, had been placed in a lifebelt locker near the stern. It exploded around four in the morning, smashing the locker, breaking a few windows, triggering off an investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, but harming nobody. (Griffiths and Cadieux, 97-8)
Ship handling problems in confined waters are manifested by Sechelt Queen's encounter with a boom chain at Horseshoe Bay in 1963. Going astern from her slip, she was caught and swung by a gust of wind, augmented by the wash of Langdale Queen entering the bay. Her propeller fouled a 300 foot chain, which had to be cut free, underwater, with acetylene torches operated by skin divers. The same Queen was once forced off course to run into a bluff at Horseshoe Bay in avoiding a small craft, foruntately without damage. (Griffiths and Cadieux, 95)
On April 5, 1962 (3 months before the bomb), the Chinook II ran aground on Snake Island at 9:38 am as she approached Departure Bay. Snake Island is the small, low island with no vegetation that can be seen about 5 km east of Departure Bay. As the tide receeded, the ferry was left almost completely out of the water, stranded on the rocks. The passengers were evacuated via nearby vessels and the ship was refloated during the next high tide. The only significant damage was a small hole in the hull, where the ferry had hit the rocks. The accident happened because the Chinook II was being operated in fog without radar. The radar had been repossessed by its owners after B.C. Ferries had refused to pay for it (Black Ball had leased it, but then sold it to B.C. Ferries). (Griffiths and Cadieux, 98-99 ; Bannerman, 107 ; Evergreenfleet.com - The Chinook)
Origin of the Names:
What happened to the Sechelt Queen?
Works Cited & Sources:
Bannerman, Gary and Patricia. The Ships of British Columbia. Surrey: Hancock House Publishers, 1985.
Clapp, Frank A. Lake and River Ferries. Victoria: Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Transportation and Highways, 1991.
Evergreenfleet.com - Quillayute
Francis, Daniel, ed. Encyclopedia of British Columbia. Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2000.
Griffiths, Garth, and H.L. Cadieux. Dogwood Fleet. Nanaimo: Cadieux and Griffiths, 1967.
Kline, M.S. and G.A. Bayless. Ferryboats - A Legend on Puget Sound. Seattle: Bayless Books, 1983.
Relevant Links & Photos:
Evergreenfleet.com - The Chinook - A short history of the ferry from the website's "Forgotten Fleet" section. Several pictures of the ferry, including interior photos of the original Chinook. Also a photo of the Chinook II on Snake Island.
Early Ships - by Kevin Stapleton - Photo of Sechelt Queen and several other early BC Ferries.
BC Archives Photographs (By Call Number)
I-20698 - The original Chinook in Victoria's harbour.
I-20699 - The Chinook unloading at Victoria.
F-09387 - The Chinook II in Georgia Strait.
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This page was last updated on June 4, 2003.